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Take a Chance, Make a Change

February 6, 2023 By The Siren Of Support Leave a comment

Change is scary. Change is hard. It can be voluntary or forced upon you. It can be expected or unanticipated. 

Change is necessary. Change is a requirement for growth. It is the only way we innovate. The only way we develop. The only way we become better. 

Get comfortable with the uncomfortable. 

Last week we implemented a new process regarding customer contact procedures. There were some expected comments, questions, and concerns. There was some trepidation and fear in some of the faces before me. However some wore expressions of excitement and triumph. It wasn’t the actual act of change that was causing these reactions, rather it was the side-effects that incited the varying responses. Those that would directly benefit from the new process, and have the least amount of modification to their day to day, were beaming. Those in a position that required additional procedural steps held a more stoic stare. After much explanation and discussion the new and improved agendum commenced.

While the new process was a directive, I asked that they provide feedback as the roll out occurred. How does it feel? Is it working? What responses are you getting? Is it really as scary as you thought it would be? 

This change was scary and hard. A tell, not an ask. This change happened swiftly. 

Today marks the beginning of day three. No one has gone ballistic. Not one team has sunk. No one has egged my house, or ignored my calls. The apprehensiveness and anxiety surrounding the original announcement is under control and stashed away until next time. I am still collecting feedback to gauge success, however the willingness to try something new from the team members is a win in and of itself. 

How can you introduce change without inciting panic? What can be done to make systematic and procedural shifts as smooth as possible?

Get Buy-In: Having others stand behind the potential adjustments you plan to announce provides the validation that you are making a well thought out and inclusive plan. Creating change in a bubble allows for possible negative effects to be overlooked. Discuss your ideas with others that will be affected and be open to tweak your original outline in order to make the implementation more accepted and less prone to failure.

Focus on the Positive: Use words like, “better”, “improved”, and “growth”, when explaining the “why” behind a change. Projecting negativity about a current way of doing something will create a sense of deficiency and defensiveness.

Calm the Masses: Be ready to answer questions. Be prepared to clarify. Do your research on possible outcomes, both good and bad. Promote the new process with confidence and excitement. If the creator shows fear of failure, the team will see the weakness and focus only on what could go awry.

Be Ready to Be Wrong: Maybe your new course of action doesn’t hit the mark. Possibly you and your cohorts were dead wrong. Be open, and solicit feedback from the people most impacted by any modification. Adjust or scrap any plan if it’s causing more harm than good. Do not let your people (or customers) suffer in order to protect your pride.  

We may only be at the beginning of our third day, but I am confident. I am also ready to make any change if necessary. Even if that change is scary and difficult. 

“Progress is impossible without change”  -George Bernard Shaw

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